Smoking has serious long-term consequences, including the risk of smoking-related diseases and premature death, as well as the increased health care costs with treating associated illnesses.88 Over 443,000 annual deaths are attributable to tobacco use, making tobacco more lethal than all other addictive drugs. Nearly 80 percent of smokers start smoking by age 18. Each day in the United States, approximately 3,800 young people under 18 years of age smoke their first cigarette, and an estimated 1,000 youth in that age group become daily cigarette smokers.89 The high rate of incidence and the consequences of cigarette smoking underscore the importance of studying patterns of smoking among adolescents.
NOTE: Data for 10th-graders for 2008 are not included because estimates are considered to be unreliable due to sampling error. See http://www.monitoringthefuture.org/data/09data.html#2009data-drugs.
SOURCE: National Institute on Drug Abuse, Monitoring the Future Survey.
88 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2004). The health consequences of smoking: A report of the Surgeon General. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office.
89 Hahn, E.J., Rayens, M.K., Chaloupka, F.J., Okoli, C.T.C., and Yang, J. (2002). Projected smoking-related deaths among U.S. youth: A 2000 update. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation ImpacTeen Research Paper Series, No. 22.